Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How to Run a High-Mature IT with Digital Sophistication

From survival instincts to thriving sophistication, it’s not quantitative accumulation, but a digital quantum leap.

Organizations large or small are on the journey of digital transformation. The characteristics of the digital era are velocity, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA). IT organizations play a critical role in leading such a business transformation. In order to prepare for the digital paradigm shift, how can IT knit all-important business elements such as process, technology, talent, culture, etc., into differentiated business competency with necessary digital sophistication which developed at the higher level via multidimensional lenses to reach digital maturity?

Digital leadership sophistication: Sophistication is an interesting word that is different from complexity. A complexity that often describes the things or systems, can be managed and optimized from a technical perspective. And sophistication which can describe either a person or a thing via the multidisciplinary lens needs to be cultivated with both soft-touch and hard discipline. It implies intelligence, profundity, uniqueness, urban fit, and multidimensional understanding. Digital leadership needs to be highly intelligent and highly influential because the digital ecosystem is complex and volatile. Digital leadership sophistication is crucial in complex problem solving, understanding context is often the first and the important step in leadership perception, create the relevant context to make a more lasting solution, not just fixing the symptom. Organizations not only need good managers to take care of today’s business but also have to grow future leaders with sophistication to deal with the digital “VUCA” reality. The emphasis of leadership sophistication is on trying to determine which competencies or capabilities should be used in which combination, and with what level of weight for each, for every different situation, in order to improve leadership effectiveness. It’s also about the multi-dimensional competencies to formulate creative, unconventional alternatives or solutions to resolve problems, to show versatility and flexibility in response to unpredictable or unanticipated circumstances. Digital transformation is the thorny journey. To clear the path, whether that be the elimination of obstacles or to provide coaching and guidance and make an influence so that the talent employees are limited only by their imagination.

Digital capability sophistication: A business capability is a specific ordering of people, processes, technology, resources, information, and aimed at creating a defined business outcome. At the organization level, the enterprise consists of a set of capabilities. The organization then uses these capabilities to understand the markets, environment, create new products and services, and then deliver products and services. The unique set of organizational capabilities with focus is business competency. The necessary business capabilities are often developed reactively to competitive threats, strategic opportunities, and environmental changes. So all businesses have certain capabilities, what matters is digital capability sophistication (hard to copy, uniqueness, complexity) and maturity (efficiency, effectiveness, and agility). The set of business capabilities with high-maturity can make organizations more adaptable, agile, and highly competitive, to fulfill their strategy. As sophisticated capability is an acquired and organized "ability" within a company and takes hard work to put in place, it can therefore not be transferred because of the degree of organizational learning and organization that goes with it. A core competency is a harmonization of multiple capabilities with digital sophistication such that it permeates the entire organization with a focus, and in alignment with the resource-based view, it is valuable, rare, and difficult to imitate. Digital capability sophistication and maturity will differentiate a digital leader from laggards.

Decision-making sophistication: Decision making is one of the most important and sophisticated activities for business leaders and professionals today, and at the strategic level, the outcome of decision making will directly make an impact on the survival or thriving of the business. With the abundance of information and the increasing speed of changes, decision making needs to strike the right balance of “Thinking Fast,” and “Thinking Slow.” In order to bridge the gap and make effective decisions. As the information steward of the business, IT has to step into business with knowledge and confidence to become the key strategy/decision-maker, because more often technology is the growth engine for any businesses, 'seeing' the context you are 'part' of, allows one to identify the leverage points of the system and then 'choose' the 'decisive' factors, in the attempt to reach the set goals and achieve the best possible outcome.

Digital Ecosystems generally do not ‘think’ in the way we understand thinking; ecosystems are complex systems, behaving by way of interactions among the various constituents, it follows from this hypothesis that sophistication appeared rather suddenly within the history of human evolution. From a management perspective, so many companies and "managers" focus on the tangibles, but they lack the in-depth understanding and leadership sophistication of understanding the intangible things; just getting them to consider the list of intangibles would be a breakthrough. In fact, leadership, culture, innovation, customer centricity and brand, all are key intangible elements, or some call the “soft factors,” which can be “hardened” at the certain level, as better drivers of solid business results. From survival instincts to thriving sophistication, it’s not a quantitative accumulation, but the digital quantum leap.


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